How Prince Saved A Wedding Reception

prince-1999My first gay wedding and reception was in a union hall. Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” played as the grooms came down the aisle. The Family was not pleased by the music. A Metropolitan Community Church pastor performed the ceremony. The Family did not think the minister was a real minister. One of the grooms cried the entire service. Allergies.

We could not wait to get to the party part. But…

The grooms’ factory worker colleagues sat to one side. Pretty sure free beer is what really brought them.

The Gays claimed the buffet as their territory. A loud argument broke out about how many pieces of fried chicken one should take during the first pass at a buffet. The Family was insulted because they misheard the commotion and thought people were unhappy with the chicken.

The Gays sent an ambassador to The Family, which huddled in a corner, probably discussing chicken, to make small talk and try to lure them out. This was a disaster. Compliments regarding a handbag resulted in Female Family members clutching purses to their bosoms, apparently equating said purse compliment with purse envy and possibly a purse snatching.

No one was mingling. It was turning into the worst party ever. We, the less than happy couple and close friends, left to smoke weed on the parking lot.

Then, a miracle happened. The DJ played Prince’s “1999.” Dancing commenced. Some of the most hilarious, joyful, I don’t care how ridiculous I look, dancing that I have ever seen happened at that party.

Everyone danced. The sour-faced Grandma danced and was sour-faced no more. Then guests started talking with one another, and getting each other drinks and food, and more dancing, and no one cared anymore about much other than having a good time.

“1999” played many times at that party. The rule was, when “1999” came on, everyone had to dance. If you did not get up from your chair, someone came and dragged you to the dance floor.

The location was Joplin, Missouri. The couple worked for a company that provided domestic partner benefits because their union negotiated for it. It was 1983. Yes. 1983.

The couple was not legally married on that day. When same sex marriage became legal in Missouri, they did get a license and have a civil ceremony. But their wedding day was the day everyone danced together to the music of Prince.

RIP Prince.

— Marie Ceselski